When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.Henry Ford
It’s a stunning set of statistics: 50% of the UKs GDP comes from SMEs while 50% of all new startups fail. While leading entrepreneurs such Theo Paphitis, a star on the BBC Show, Dragons’ Den, claim the main reason arises because “entrepreneurs do not do their homework,” it could also be argued there is a failure to identify ground-breaking cloud tools to empower both their sales force and back office at inception.
We have identified five essential sales, marketing and accounting tools we believe will help give SMBs a fighting chance to not only survive, but to thrive.
While most entrepreneurs may be familiar with Gmail, they may not realize they can leverage the business version from Google which allows them to leverage not only domain-centric email services but also connect additional cloud services in the form of Google Drive and Google Web Forms. This collaborative tool sets allows a SMB to unify key back office functions without the aid of an IT administrator. Also consider the hidden advantages of applying powerful anti-spam, anti-spoofing and anti-hijacking policies including two-factor authentication and help with new DMARC guidelines to prevent spoofing attacks. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to hacking attacks that tie up resources and affect their sales credibility.
While there are several famous accounting packages to choose from including Quicken, Quickbooks, and Paychex, one cloud version is gaining large amounts of new sign-ups every year: Freshbooks. It’s a wonderfully simple cloud-based accounting package that literally takes between 10-30 minutes to set up for most small businesses. One of the most attractive features is the ability to integrate STRIPE checkout services for automated-invoicing and online payment structures. Pay particular attention to their Profit and Loss Accounting Report, which allows you to quickly analyze accrual or cash-based revenue for a billing cycle.
Purposely built for the small business sales team (and the sales leader in particular) Getscorecard uses some of the key features found in the Balanced Scorecard approach to provide visual micro charts of sales activity, using a variety of innovative features including a Health Score which is truly unique to the CRM world. Leverage auto-tasking and other ‘triggers’ to automate responses to clients and dramatically reduce customer churn.
The one issue facing a small business startup is generating enough leads to sustain their early sales force. While historically this usually involves building up an email list or leveraging Google Adwords, Facebook and other social medial channels are now becoming powerful contenders in finding new clients. However, the early stages of a Facebook profile are challenging and uncomfortable especially when it comes to how many LIKES your page garners in relation to your rivals. Facebook advertising is becoming a highly relevant strategy to both engage users and find new fans. Plus, it is 50-70% more intuitive to set up than Google Adwords which can be verbose and confusing to new users. There are several paths a SMB can follow when setting up a campaign, including targeting for LIKES only or using a Facebook video to push more traffic to a lead-generating landing page on your website. But what makes these ADS really powerful is the ability to target by age, location or highly specific demographics including income levels.
By asking one question, “how likely is it that you would recommend [your company] to a friend or colleague?” Net Promoter believes it has found a way to help sales leaders reduce customer churn. Using a 0-10 rating scale, Net Promoter offers a powerful scoring system to assess customer retention when incorporated into a disciplined sales strategy. It should be noted that GetScorecard allows a sales leader to automatically adjust customer health scores based on the Net Promoter value. If the Net Promoter score were to drop it may, for example, trigger an automatic email or ‘offer’ to the customer to win back his trust and business. This is a powerful example how new CRMs are incorporating business intelligence from other outside systems in their bid to help sales managers increase revenue and reduce customer loss.